Twenty exceptional buildings across the UK have been shortlisted for the Wood Awards 2018 – the UK’s premier competition for excellence in architecture and product design in the world’s only naturally sustainable material.
Established in 1971 the awards aim to encourage and promote outstanding design, craftsmanship and installation using wood and are split into two main categories: buildings & furniture and product.
The winners will be revealed at the annual Wood Awards ceremony at Carpenters’ Hall on 20 November.
All of the shortlisted projects will be showcased at the London Design Fair and will be visited by the judging panel, led by three-time Gold Award winner Stephen Corbett of Green Oak Carpentry, in person. The panel includes Andrew Lawrence, Arup; Adam Richards, Adam Richards Architects; Kirsten Haggart, Waugh Thistleton Architects; Nathan Wheatley, engenuiti; David Morley, David Morley Architects; Jim Greaves, Hopkins; and architectural journalist Ruth Slavid.
Within the buildings competition there are five subcategories: commercial & leisure, education & public sector, interiors, private and small project.
The shortlisted projects are listed below:
Commercial & leisure
City of London Freemen’s School Swimming Pool
Architect: Hawkins Brown
Client/owner: City of London Freemen’s School
Structural engineer: Eckersley O’Callaghan
Main contractor: Gilbert Ash
Joinery/wood supplier: Wiehag
Wood species: Austrian spruce
The new six-lane 25m competition pool replaces the original pool that was destroyed by a fire in 2014. The project includes changing facilities, an annex and an energy centre. A cross-laminated timber (CLT) envelope, with minimal structural steel inserts, is supported by long spanning portal frames in glulam timber that are gradually skewed along the length of the building. Internally, the engineered wood has been left exposed and treated with a white stain, leaving the grain visible. The finish provides thermal insulation and corrosion resistance, which is of particular importance in a corrosive swimming pool environment. Prefabricated off-site, the structure was assembled on-site in just over three weeks. From detailed design to completion, the project took only one year.
Location: Londonderry, Northern Ireland
Structural engineer: Structures 2000 Ltd
Main contractor/joinery: Alan Moon Joinery and Building Contractor
Glulam manufacturers: Old Manse Joinery
Wood supplier: Brooks
Wood species: Ukrainian birch
The project built to house an expanding rural architectural practice that had outgrown its previous dedicated office space in the directors’ home. The new studio is situated in the lower garden of the family home. The building also serves as a domestic garage and provides a level access bedroom and shower-room for relatives with mobility issues. The building references the rusting agricultural sheds in the rural area. The exterior form appears as a simple pitched-roof shed cloaked in corten steel. Internally the glulam structure is expressed and celebrated, revealing a series of bright overlapping spaces. The structure has been left exposed and doubles as the interior fit-out, forming the wall finish, shelving, drawers and cupboards.
The Macallan Distillery & Visitor Experience
Location: Charlestown of Aberlour, Scotland
Architect: Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners
Structural engineer: Arup
Main contractor: Robertson
Installation: L&S Baucon GmbH
Joinery/wood supplier: Wiehag
Wood species: Norway spruce
Built on an estate that has been creating single malt whisky since 1824, The Macallan is one of the most complex timber structures built in the UK. The scheme’s five domes mirror the surrounding landscape but also allow height for the stratification and exhaust of hot air. A 3x3m lattice of beams is imposed orthogonally on the form-found shell of the roof. This approach allows for structural robustness and gives space for increased shear capacity. The timber is reinforced with steel to act compositely where needed. All the timber elements were fabricated in Austria using advanced CNC machinery. The roof is 207m long and has an area of 13,620m2. The roof package comprised 350,000 separate pieces, including fixings, and almost every piece was different.
Storey’s Field Centre & Eddington Nursery
Client/owner: University of Cambridge
Structural engineer: Aecom
Main contractor: Farrans Construction Ltd
Joinery: C W Fields
Glulam structure: Just Swiss
Spiral stair fabricator: Spiral UK Ltd
Cedar shingle supplier: Marley Eternit
Wood supplier: Brooks Bros, D F Richards
Wood species: European oak, American white ash, Canadian western red cedar
The 100-place nursery is arranged around three sides of a landscaped courtyard. On the fourth side is the civic scaled community centre including a 180-seat main hall. The principle rooms are lined in oak panelling. The main hall, influenced by the dining halls and chapels of Cambridge colleges, uses an exposed, articulated timber structure. The slender spruce glulam portal frames spring from the oak panelled base and pass in front of a backdrop of ash veneered panelling; the tones of the timber gradually lightening up the height of the space. A structural ceiling of layered ash joists, battens and veneered plywood conceals air extract routes for the hall’s passive ventilation strategy. The hall provides a venue for a range of activities and its acoustics can be adjusted to suit. At the west end, an ash spiral stair is a sculptural element wrapped by a curved veneered ash plywood balustrade. The nursery’s turret roofed classrooms are clad in western red cedar as are the soffits to the covered nursery cloister.
Education & public sector
Royal Academy of Music theatre and new recital hall
Architect: Ian Ritchie Architects Ltd
Client/owner: Royal Academy of Music
Structural engineer: WSP
Main contractor: Geoffrey Osborne Ltd
Joinery: James Johnson & Co. Ltd
Specialist theatre electrics & lighting: Push The Button
Acoustic engineer: Arup
Wood supplier: Hardwood Sales Ltd, Brooks Bros Ltd, Lathams
Wood species: American cherry, European oak
Two exceptional performance spaces have been integrated within the academy site. The 309-seat cherry-lined Susie Sainsbury Theatre now forms the heart of the academy. Inspired by the curved shapes of string instruments, it has been acoustically refined to deliver excellent sound qualities. Each acoustic treatment has its own graded detailing to blend the sound in all directions. Above the theatre, the 100-seat Angela Burgess Recital Hall provides 230m2 of additional space for student rehearsal, public performance and recording. The theatre is designed intimate and epic whereas the Recital Hall is a tranquil, calming and visually cool. The recital hall is entirely lined in pale, lime-washed European oak. Woven into the design are structural elements reminiscent of string instruments. Through an aperture of finely tuned ‘strings’, an oak-lined oculus floods the space with daylight and provides a central focus.
Sultan Nazrin Shah Centre
Architect: Niall McLaughlin Architects
Client/owner: Worcester College
Structural engineer: Price & Myers
Main contractor: Beard Construction
Joinery: Barn 6
Furniture: Benchmark, David Colwell Design
Timber flooring: Junckers
Wood supplier: Inwood Developments, Brooks Brothers
Wood species: European oak, Siberian larch
The new Sultan Nazrin Shah Centre houses a large lecture theatre, a student learning space, seminar rooms and a dance studio. The project has developed and enhanced a significant part of the college’s site. The building is raised on a podium and has been designed as a theatre within a garden. A curved, stone auditorium opens directly onto an oak-ceilinged foyer that extends out to pergolas and terraces overlooking the cricket pitch. The theatre is framed by a high stone screen that rises to allow clerestory light into the space. It is surmounted by a pleated ceiling sweeping down to the stage. The space can operate as fully enclosed, darkened, or as a brightly lit environment. The dance studio stands at the end of a long serpentine lake that connects back to the ancient heart of the college.
Streatham & Clapham High School
Architect: Cottrell and Vermeulen Architecture
Client/owner: Girls’ Day School Trust
Structural engineer: Engineers HRW
Main contractor: Rooff Limited
Joinery/wood supplier: KLH-UK
Services engineer: OR Consulting Engineers
Wood species: Austrian spruce
The project uses timber as a primary material to provide spaces that are transformative yet complementary to the original 1930s building. The first phase provided a new sixth form centre within a rooftop pavilion over the main body of the school. The newly completed second phase comprises a ground floor extension featuring a new dining hall and school entrance. Both extensions are characterised by the use of exposed timber. CLT was used to minimise disruption to a working school. The use of 3D modelling facilitated the construction of the complex forms and offered technical, cost and sustainability advantages. The building was carefully detailed to maximise the versatility of the material both in terms of structure and appearance. The CLT panels form a textured, warm backdrop to all the spaces, whilst the curved glulam columns mimic the trees outside.
Architect: Niall McLaughlin
Client/owner: Jesus College
Structural engineer: Peter Brett Associates
Main contractor: Cocksedge Building Contractors
Joinery: ABS Joinery
Wood supplier: Just Swiss, Neve Holzbau
Oak glulam installation: Eurban
Oak windows: Thomas Sinden Joinery
Patio doors (south façade): Harry Easterbrook
Wood species: European oak, European ash
West Court was delivered in sequential parts over eighteen months. Set around a courtyard in a conservation area, the refurbished Grade II listed Webb building provides offices, social spaces and student accommodation. A new, lightweight, glazed timber café and basement bar extends the building northwards into the landscape, providing a prominent link to the rest of the college. On the south side of the courtyard, the remodelled 1970s rank building provides a 180-seat lecture theatre, research and teaching facilities, and visitor accommodation. It houses the Intellectual Forum, a research centre with global reach. The existing buildings are linked by a new extension, signified by a glazed lantern, containing reception, exhibition and conference facilities. As there was limited opportunity for repetitive detailing, the elements across the site are unified through a consistent palette of high-quality materials.
Woodland Classrooms, Belvue School
Architect: Studio Weave
Client/owner: Belvue School
Structural engineer: Timberwright
Main contractor: IMS Building Solutions
M&E consultant: Arup
Project managers: Jackson Coles
Roofing sub-contractor: VMZinc
Wood supplier: T. Brewer
Wood species: Western red cedar (Canada)
Belvue School is a secondary school for students with moderate to severe learning difficulties and a range of other needs. 150sqm of extracurricular spaces, with domestic quality and intimate scale, have been built on a modest budget. The boundary between the playground and adjacent woodland was identified as the border between familiar school territory and the magical, mysterious world
beyond, with the new woodland classrooms acting as a gatehouse. ‘Cosy Lounge’ is used for workshops and engaging with the woodland, as well as being a calm private sensory space when required. ‘Sociable Kitchen’ includes a café and group dining. ‘Messy Barn’ allows outdoor learning, whatever the weather. Through encouraging and inspiring students to adopt extra responsibilities and be more autonomous the school nurtures their social, emotional and personal development. The concave ceiling creates an intimate scale which opens up to clerestory windows as you move towards the centre of the room. The stack effect created by this allows the spaces to be entirely naturally ventilated.
Architect: WIDGER architecture
Client/owner: Chris Dale & Sally Thompson
Structural engineer: BDPM
Main contractor/joinery: MJ Build and Management
Wood supplier: Millworks Timber
Wood species: Birch plywood
This property has undergone a complete transformation to create calm and serene bedroom and studio interiors. These spaces were previously difficult to inhabit due to awkward wall and ceiling planes. The design has taken the existing forms, folds and edges and both improved and embraced them. New complementary angular forms have been attached to the existing ones, such as the window seat concealing storage, through to the subtlety of the plywood joint lines. The plywood surfaces throughout the interior add a sense of weightlessness, as if floating above the floor. The use of birch plywood is not only limited to finishes, the end grain is exposed on the staircase banister, architraves, door and window frames.
Architect: Francisco Sutherland Architects
Structural engineer: Barton Engineers
Main contractor/joinery: Dubel Joinery
Wood supplier: Tin Tab
Photography: Anton Rodriguez
Wood species: European oak
This mezzanine structure was designed for a flat within the Barbican Estate. The flat is a M3a type – a triplex at 5th, 6th and 7th floor. The brief was to design a carefully crafted piece of furniture, slotted into the top floor room, forming a mezzanine platform, shower room and wardrobes serving the master bedroom. The design of the bathroom carefully coordinates with the existing communal services. Oak plywood panels with a birch core were chosen to contrast with the hardwood used on the main existing staircase. Storage and shutters were integrated into the design of the upper
platform and follow the curve of the ceiling and original window detailing. The design was based on the idea of a room within a room, as well as a lived-in piece of furniture: a multi-functional object occupying a larger space.
The Department Store, Brixton
Architect/client: Squire and Partners
Joinery/wood supplier: Carpenter Oak
Photography: James Jones
Wood species: European green oak
The Department Store revives a local Brixton landmark to create a series of collaborative workspaces supported by an evolving hub of creative, retail and community uses. Originally built in 1906 as an annex to the Bon Marché department store, the design of the reimagined space has been informed by the existing fabric and layers of history. The beams and coffers of the floors were replicated but allowed to reach for the sky as lanterns, creating a village of naturally lit spaces housing multiple functions including a bar, dining room, lounge and kitchen. Green oak was used in place of steel due to its sustainable characteristics but also for its natural live quality. The fact that the oak is French, creates a further link with the original Bon Marché stores.
The Vortex, Bloomberg
Architect: Foster + Partners
Client/owner: Bloomberg LP
Structural engineer: AKT II
Main contractor: Sir Robert McAlpine
Joinery company: TMJ
Wood supplier: Topakustic
Wood species: American red oak
The Vortex is a dramatic double-height space at the main entrance of Bloomberg’s new European headquarters. Its three inclined, curving timber shells are a literal and metaphorical twist on classic wood-panelled London lobbies. It is deliberately mysterious, responding to Bloomberg’s objective to create a building that unfolds gradually. The openings between the individual timber shells define the building’s separate entry and exit paths. The structure consists of a double timber wall, constructed as a pre-assembled series of stressed-skin cassettes, where the main joists are orientated to generate the curvature of the surface, while keeping the timber elements straight. The timber skeleton is covered by a double layer of plywood and timber panelling chosen for its warmth and ability to provide excellent acoustic properties. 6,000 unique panels had to be put together, much like a large jigsaw that could only be assembled in a particular sequence. Four shades of veneer were randomised across the surface to avoid concentration of any one shade in a particular area.
Architect: Tsuruta Architects
Structural engineer: Webb Yates Engineers
Main contractor/joinery: Arobuild
Structural consultancy: Entuitive Engineering
CNC fabrication: Cut and Construct
Wood supplier: Riga Ply
Wood species: Latvian birch plywood
This 20th century house had fallen into disrepair and a complete reorganisation was required. The original large staircase made the circulation light and airy but its dominance compromised the entire layout. Timber was selected for the new staircase, wardrobe, windows and framework wall due to its natural qualities and flexibility. The perforated timber treads, risers and balustrade of the new staircase let light and air through, but in a more compact configuration. Traces of engraved e-mail dialogues between the client and architect appear on the stair stringer and handrail. Windows and a new plywood framework create a screen wall for two new bathrooms and a utility room, letting light flow into the stairwell. A large cantilevered steel balcony with timber storage underneath anchors the kitchen and dining room to the back garden.
Architect: Walker Bushe Architects
Structural engineer: Michael Hadi Associates
Main contractor/builder: MY Construction
Joinery: B&A Woodworking, Roy Farrugia, Oberflex
Wood supplier: Wessex Timber
Oak floor: Dinesen
Wood species: English oak, English oak veneer, European ashen oak veneer, Slavonian oak, German+Danish oak, Austrian spruce
Phototgraph by Janie Airie
The house was conceived as a peripatetic route weaving the building into the gently sloping landscape. Timber was selected for its structural, environmental and tactile qualities. A CLT construction was chosen for sustainability and the ability to create long spans with intermittent minor columns. Externally, flint walling and bronze and oak cladding complement the garden. 10m long English oak boards emphasise the building’s horizontality. Internally, a restrained palette of natural stone, oversized oak boards and polished concrete creates a sense of calm. Built-in joinery finished in oak veneer accommodates storage, doors and drawers, detailed with mitered pulls. Elsewhere cupboards are finished with perforated acoustic panels. In the kitchen, black-sprayed timber joinery provides a strong but elegant backdrop to the oak kitchen island.
Kent Downs House
Architect: McLean Quinlan
Structural engineer: Frank Van Loock Associates
Main contractor: R Durtnell & Sons Limited
Joinery: Rozen Furniture, Richard Cullinan Joinery
Landscape consultant: FFLO
Quantity surveyor/cost consultant: Baillie Knowles Partnership LLP
Wood supplier: L&G Forest Products
Wood species: French oak, British Douglas fir
The house draws on the client’s life experiences and ‘memories of Asia’ while also having a strong connection with the surrounding area. Two stone and timber pavilions sit lightly in the
landscape. Their shallow floating roofs and large overhangs blur the division between the inside and the woodland beyond. Open timber board fencing encloses the entrance and motor-court. The house is careful not to reveal itself immediately and instead encourages a sense of exploration. Oak cladding wraps the two pavilions, culminating with the larger two-storey bedroom block. The floating roofs complement the vertical cladding by exposing Douglas fir roof joists. In the living pavilion, the pitched roofs remain exposed to create a warm and comforting atmosphere. The oak doors, library bookcase and flooring gently accentuate the natural landscape beyond and act as a backdrop to furniture and artwork.
Old Shed New House
Location: North Yorkshire
Architect: Tonkin Liu
Structural engineer: Rodrigues Associates
Main contractor: Vine House Construction
Joinery: Image Developments Northern Ltd
Wood supplier: Arnold Laver
Wood species: Siberian larch, Latvian birch, Scandinavian spruce
This timber framed and clad house is nestled within the landscape of North Yorkshire. An existing agricultural shed on the site has been transformed into a container for a lifetime collection of books and art. The steel portal frame and ground-slab have been enlarged and infilled with a new timber frame clad in varied widths of shot-blasted timber and galvanised steel. The rhythmic façade reads like the bark of silver birch trees found on the site. The landscape is drawn into the building’s two double-height volumes through large axial openings. A long gallery entices visitors in. A tall south-facing library evokes a forest clearing in the heart of the house. The spacious
library is wrapped by a modestly sized living room and three bedrooms. Behind the long gallery, a thick wall conceals the staircase, utility room and storage. The environmental approach was to create a highly insulated and airtight building that follows the passivhaus strategy. Timber solar louvres were integrated into the cladding system to limit solar gain.
Architect: O’Sullivan Skoufoglou Architects
Structural engineer: Entuitive Engineering
Main contractor/joinery: Jassa Construction
Wood supplier: Quercus, S.R.O
Wood species: European oak
This intervention replaced a 1970s extension that divided the space into separate kitchen and dining rooms, allowing little connection to the garden. The client wanted more light, space and ample storage. The dining area is incorporated into the façade of deep vertical oak fins with direct views out to the garden. Internally, oak beams and ash-veneered plywood storage walls provide a sense of enclosure. A bench seat and solid-ash bespoke table complete the dining area. The built-in kitchen furniture uses the same palette, keeping the space simple yet warm. Oak and ash were selected for their use in Irish mythology, connecting to the owner’s roots. All timber elements were fabricated and pre-assembled in a workshop before being assembled onsite.
Architect: New British Design
Client/owner: Louise Middleton
Main contractor/joinery: Toby Sharp
Wood supplier: New World Timber
Wood species: Larch, Southern yellow pine, paged pine plywood
Kudhva, meaning hideout in Cornish, are a series of prototype wilderness cabins situated in a dis-used quarry on the north coast of Cornwall. The project forms part of a wider long-term strategy for creative reuse of the quarry. The Kudhva are a physical manifestation of the client’s approach to natural living. The cabins are made predominately from wood, chosen to act as a lightweight counter to the site’s industrial past. The natural habitat is ecologically rich, therefore the cabins have been designed to touch lightly on the land. The cabins have been designed to be totally off-grid and are temporary structures that can be moved around the site or removed in years to come.
Look! Look! Look!
Location: Berrington Hall, Leominster
Architect: Studio Morison
Artists: Ivan Morison, Heather Peak
Client/owner: The National Trust
Structural engineer: Artura
Wood supplier/CNC cutting: WUP Doodle
Wood species: Birch ply, Douglas fir
This pavilion sits in the centre of the 18th century walled garden originally designed by Georgian landscape designer Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown. The birch ply and fabric structure is a contemporary version of the follies or ‘eyecatchers’ featured in 18th and 19th century landscaping. The sculptural form is based on a rectangle of paper that has been folded in a way that gives it structural stability and creates a sense of shelter. The most important aspect of the work was to create a sense that the
final form had been folded into place, and that the edges were sharp. The artists opted to use engineered ply, cut using a five axis CNC, to create the individual components later to be assembled in the workshop. The structure is made of 90 rhomboid timber cassettes with fabric pulled over and invisibly fixed to each.
Major Sponsors of the Wood Awards are American Hardwood Export Council, Carpenters’ Company and TRADA. Other Sponsors include American Softwoods, Arnold Laver, Forestry Commission, Timber Trade Federation, Wood for Good, Furniture Makers’ Company and London Design Fair.
Mears Group sponsors the Mears Group Gold Award which is the project that the judges deem to be the best of all the winners.